A Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) is a great source of comfort to many, they enable you to assign someone to manage your financial affairs or deal on your behalf with matters concerning your health and wellbeing should you become physically or mentally incapable. You must be 18+ and mentally capable when making this document. Our probate and Will solicitors are able to help you understand which LPA you require and get the document created.
There are two types of Lasting Powers of Attorney:
- A Property and Affairs LPA – this would allow whoever you appoint as your Attorneys to deal with your property and financial affairs as if they were you.
- A Health and Welfare LPA – this would allow whoever you appoint as your Attorneys to make decisions with regards to your health and welfare with regards to such things as accepting or refusing medical treatment including life sustaining treatment on your behalf and deciding where you will live including choosing a nursing or care home if necessary.
Who should I appoint to deal with my affairs?
You will need to choose attorneys who you trust and who have the skills and knowledge required to deal with your financial affairs and/or personal welfare. This can be family members, friends, colleagues or independent parties such as Will and probate solicitors.
You can just have one attorney but this could cause problems if they were, for example, to die before you or lose their mental capacity before you as you would then have to go to the expense of preparing a new Lasting Power of Attorney. If you did only want one Attorney to act then you can also appoint a replacement attorney to act if anything should happen to your original attorney which would help avoid the expense outlined above.
If you did wish to appoint more than one Attorney then you can appoint them to act jointly or jointly and severally, or jointly for some decisions and jointly and severally for other decisions. Once we know your circumstances clearly we can advise what appointment would be best for you in order to protect your interests.
The Lasting Power of Attorney has to be signed by an independent third party who confirms that you have the mental capacity to sign the document and that there is no other reason why the document should not be created.
Does the LPA have to be registered with the Court?
In order for the Lasting Power of Attorney to be valid and able to be used by your attorneys it needs to be registered with the Court of Protection. There is a separate registration fee which must be paid to the court but you can obtain an exemption or remission if you are on benefits or a low income.
How long does the registration process take?
The registration process takes at least 6 weeks. Although you do not have to register the LPA at the time of preparing the document it is therefore safer to do so in the event it is needed urgently as this would avoid any delay.
Once the document is registered it does not have to be used straight away. We can store it at our offices for safekeeping until such time as it is needed.
What if I become mentally incapable and I have not registered an LPA?
If you were to become mentally incapable and you had not prepared a Lasting Power of Attorney or an Enduring Power of Attorney then an application would need to be made to the Court of Protection for someone to be appointed as a Deputy on your behalf.
The Deputy would be responsible for dealing with your property and financial affairs. If no one wishes to act as your deputy then the court can appoint someone on your behalf. There are a number of complex forms which would need completing which require in-depth information about your personal and financial circumstances. The process is quite costly (approximately £500 for the initial application and an annual fee of around £800) and lengthy which is why it is important to consider making arrangements to deal with your affairs while you are still mentally capable.
Registration of Enduring Powers of Attorney
If you have an Enduring Power of Attorney that was prepared prior to the end of September 2007 then provided it was correctly signed and witnessed and you are still happy with your choice of Attorneys, it will still be valid.
If you are appointed as an Attorney under an Enduring Power of Attorney and the person who has appointed you has lost their mental capacity then you are under a duty to register the document with the Court of Protection. This will involve notifying relevant family members and completing an application to Register the Power. If you need assistance or advice on registering an Enduring Power of Attorney we would be happy to help.